Gertie is a very sweet affectionate young cat who was referred to Crown Vet Referrals in late 2018 after going missing for 24 hours and returning home with extensive wounds to the right forelimb and a suspected fracture to the left forelimb. It was not clear how she had sustained these injuries and it was therefore important to assess for any other internal injuries or concerns.
X-rays were taken of the chest which was thankfully clear of any damage. X-ray of the left forelimb identified a partial thickness (greenstick) fracture of the radius with minimal to no displacement. On manipulation the fracture was also very stable. Given the stability, incomplete nature of the fracture and age of the cat, no stabilisation of the fracture with plates or screws was required in this case. Conservative management with strict rest and pain relief was continued all that was needed to allow the fracture to heal.
The main problem faced by Gertie was the extensive skin and muscle injury to the right forelimb which would not have healed by itself and may have meant amputation would be required. Due to the initial management of the wound by the referring vets the wound was clean and healthy though and this allowed us to continue with reconstruction immediately. This was achieved by taking a flap of skin from Gerties right shoulder and moving it to the right leg to cover the wound and allow it to heal normally without any exposed tissue.
After 10 days the stitches from the skin graft were removed and Gertie was free to use this leg normally. Her rest continued for a few more weeks to allow the fracture to heal further. Her exercise was then gradually increased over the next few weeks and Gertie made a complete recovery and was back to climbing and jumping like normal.